Concerning The Error of Extremism

David Myatt

Concerning The Error of Extremism

Editorial Note: The following philosophical definition and explanation of extremism is taken from Part Three of David Myatt’s book The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, available both in printed format (ISBN 978-1484096642) and as a gratis open access pdf document from the Opera Omina page of Myatt’s weblog or directly from here. The book outlines Myatt’s Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos, also known as The Numinous Way. Myatt’s definition and explanation of extremism is derived from his forty years as an extremist and from his own pathei mathos, his own learning from those forty years.

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Extremism – as defined and understood by the philosophy of pathei-mathos – is a modern example of the error of hubris. An outward expression – codified in an ideology – of a bad individual physis (of a bad or faulty or misguided or underdeveloped/unmatured individual nature); of a lack of inner balance in individuals; of a lack of empathy and of pathei-mathos.

There is thus, in extremists, an ignorance of the true nature of Being and beings, and a lack of appreciation of or a wilful rejection of the numinous, as well as a distinct lack of or an aversion to personal humility, for it is the nature of the extremist that they are convinced and believe that ‘they know’ that the ideology/party/movement/group/faith that they accept or adhere to – or the leader that they follow – have/has the right answers, the correct solutions, to certain problems which they faithfully assert exist in society and often in human beings.

This conviction, this arrogance of belief, or this reliance on the assessment of someone else (some leader), combined with a lack of empathy and a lack of the insight and the self-knowing wrought by pathei-mathos, causes or greatly enhances an existing inner/interior dissatisfaction (an unbalance, a lack of harmony) within them in regard to what-is, so that some vision, some ideal, of the future – of society – becomes more important to them, more real, more meaningful, than people, than life, as people and life are now. Thus, they with their ideology, their faith, with and because of their dissatisfaction, possess or develope an urge to harshly interfere, continually finding fault with people, with society, with life itself, and so strive – mostly violently, hatefully, unethically, and with prejudice and often with anger – to undermine, to violently change, to ‘revolutionize’, or to destroy, what-is.

In simple terms, extremists fail to understand, to appreciate, to know, to apprehend, what is important about human beings and human living; what the simple reality, the simple nature, the real physis, of the majority of human beings and of society is and are, and thus what innocence means and implies. That is, there is a failure to know, to appreciate, what is good, and natural and numinous and innocent, in respect of human beings and of society. A failure to know, a failure to appreciate, a failure to feel what it is that empathy and pathei-mathos provide: the wisdom of our personal nature and personal needs; of our physis as rational – as balanced – human beings possessed of certain qualities, certain virtues, or capable of developing balance, capable of developing certain qualities, certain virtues, and thus having or of developing the ability to live in a certain manner: with fairness, with love, and without hatred and prejudice.

What is good, and natural – what should thus be appreciated, and respected, and not profaned by the arrogance (the hubris) of the extremist, and what empathy and pathei-mathos reveal – are the desire for personal love and the need to be loyally loved; the need for a family and the bonds of love within a family that lead to the desire to protect, care for, work for, and if necessary defend one’s loved ones. The desire for a certain security and stability and peace, manifest in a home, in sufficiency of food, in playfulness, in friends, in tolerance, in a lack of danger. The need for the dignity, the self-respect, that work, that giving love and being loved, provide.

David Myatt
2013


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A Time To Reflect

David Myatt

David Myatt

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A time to reflect as I – tired from long days of manual work – sit in the garden watching the clouds clear to bring some warm Sun on this windy day of a coldish wind. On the horizon to the South: Cumulus clouds billowing up to herald more showers, and I, for a moment as a child again, watch a few cloud-faces change to disperse; as if the clouds are for that moment, just that one moment, a memory of a person who lived, once, on this Earth: reaching out to be remembered as they the cloud move as they are moved in their so-brief and new existence.

The hedgerows are greening; the branches of trees coming into leaf, and life is renewed while I wait for the Swallows to return, here, to this Farm. This is Life: in its purest truth devoid of the empathy-destroying, suffering-causing, abstractions that we humans have manufactured to blight this planet and so grievously injure our fecund still beautiful but now suffering Mother Earth who gives us, and who gave us, life.

The brief warm Sun renews as it almost always does for me, and so – for this moment, this one moment – I am happy, again; feeling the measure of Meaning, of happiness, of joy itself; which is in a simple just-being, sans abstractions, sans thought, and beyond the dependency of, the addiction to, anger…..

Here – the child, again; free to watch the bee bumble from flower to flower; free to feel a certain playful awe. Here, the concern with only what is seen, touched, known, smelt, in the immediacy of dwelling.

There should be nothing more; nothing to wreck such simple being; nothing to bring the-suffering. But I, we, are stupid, weak, vain, addicted – and so in our failing repeat and repeat and repeat the same mistakes, and so cause and maintain the pain of our, of their, of other, suffering. Mea Culpa; Mea Culpa; Mea Maxima Culpa…

David Myatt
April 2007

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Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/one-slow-and-painful-learning/


Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos

David Myatt

David Myatt

Editorial Note: We republish here an essay by David Myatt written in 2012 and included in his book The Numinous Way Of Pathei Mathos. {1} The essay provides an insight into how his ‘numinous way’ deals with important issues such as politics, society, and social change. Derived as these insights were from his own pathei mathos, from the personal learning acquired from some fifty years of practical political experience, the essay provides a remarkable contrast to the ‘revolutionary polemics’ of his extremist decades (1968-2009) and which decades led to him being described as “England’s principal proponent of contemporary neo-Nazi ideology and theoretician of revolution.” {2}

RDM Crew
April 2018

{1} The book, published in 2013, is available both as a gratis open access document – https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/numinous-way-v5c-print.pdf – and in printed format: Myatt, David, The Numinous Way Of Pathei Mathos, CreateSpace, 2013. 96 pages. ISBN 978-1484096642

{2} Michael, George. The New Media and the Rise of Exhortatory Terrorism. Strategic Studies Quarterly (United States Air Force), Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2013.

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Society, Politics, Social Reform, and Pathei-Mathos

Modern Society and The Individual

Society, in the context of this essay, refers to ‘modern societies’ (especially those of the modern ‘democratic’ West) and means a collection of individuals who dwell, who live, in a particular area and who are subject to the same laws and the same institutions of authority. Modern society is thus a manifestation of The State, and which State is predicated on individuals actively or passively accepting some supra-personal authority [1].

In modern societies, change and reform are often therefore introduced or attempted by The State most usually: (1) on the basis of the manufacture of some law or laws which the individuals, and the established institutions, of the area governed by The State are expected to obey on pain of some type of individual punishment, financial and/or physically punitive (as in prison); or (2) by means of State-sponsored or State-introduced schemes such as, for example, the British National Health Service and which schemes are invariably enshrined in law.

The essence of such change and reform of a society – large-scale, effective, rapid change and reform in society – is therefore, for the majority of people, external, and most often derives from some posited or assumed or promised agenda of the government of the day; that is, derived from some political or social or economic theory, axiom, idea, or principle, posited by others, be these others, for example, politicians, or social/political/economic theorists/reformers (and so on).

There is thus a hierarchy of judgement involved, whatever political ‘flavour’ the government is assigned to, is assumed to represent, or claims it represents; with this hierarchy of necessity requiring the individual in society to either (i) relinquish their own judgement, being accepting of or acquiescing in (from whatever reason or motive such as desire to avoid punishment) the judgement of these others, or (ii) to oppose this ‘judgement of others’ either actively through some group, association, or movement (political, social, religious) or individually, with there being the possibility that some so opposing this ‘judgement of others’ may resort to using violent means against the established order.

Objectively, this process of change and reform by means of a hierarchy of judgement manifest in laws, and of State authority and power sufficient to enforce such laws, has resulted in fairly stable societies which are, for perhaps the majority of people, relatively peaceful, not overtly repressive, and – judged by the criteria of past societies and many non-Western societies – relatively prosperous.

Thus, while many problems – social and economic – remain and exist in such societies, with some such problems getting worse, such societies work reasonably well, contain an abundance of well-intentioned, moral, individuals, and appear to be better than the alternatives both tried in the past and theorized about. Hence it is not surprising that perhaps the majority of people within such societies favour solving such problems as do exist by existing social, political, and economic means; that is, by internal social, political, and economic, reform rather than by violent means and the advocacy of extremist ideologies.

Furthermore, many or most of the flaws, and the problems, within society are recognized and openly discussed, with a multitude of people of good will, of humanity, of fairness, committed to or interested in helping those affected by such flaws and problems, and thus not only trying to improve society but also to finding and implementing solutions in tolerant ways which do not cause conflict or involve the harshness, the violence, the hatred, the intolerance, of extremism.

For, while most large-scale, effective, rapid change and reform in society tends to be by enforceable State laws and State-sponsored schemes, change and reform also and significantly occurs and has occurred within society, albeit often more slowly, through the efforts of individuals and groups and organizations devoted to charitable, religious, or social causes and which individuals and groups and organizations by their very nature are invariably non-violent and often non-political. Furthermore, such non-violent, non-political, individuals and groups and organizations often become the inspiration for reform and change introduced by The State.

Some Problems of Modern Society

Before outlining a possible numinous approach to reform and change, based on the philosophy of pathei-mathos, it would perhaps be useful to outline some of the social problems that still beset modern societies. What therefore constitutes a social problem within a society? How is such a problem defined?

In essence, it is an undesirable circumstance or way of living that affects a number of people and which undesirable circumstance or way of living others in society are or become aware of; with what is undesirable being – according to the ethics of the philosophy of pathei-mathos [2] – that which is, or those who are, unfair; that which deprives or those whom deprive a human being of dignity and honour; and that which is and those who are uncompassionate.

Thus, among the many problems of modern societies are misogyny; ethnic and religious discrimination, hatred, and prejudice; and social/economic inequality.

For example, misogyny – from the Greek μισογύνης – is unfairness toward, and/or prejudice and discrimination against, women. Often, as in the past, this is a consequence of an existing prejudice in a man: for example, that men are somehow better than women, or that women are ‘useful’ only for or suited to certain things; or that the subservience of women, and thus their domination/control by men, is ‘a natural and necessary’ state of human existence.

Misogyny in individual practice often results in men being violent/domineering toward, or selfishly manipulative and controlling of, women; and thus in them treating women in a dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate way.

Similarly, a hatred or dislike of or discrimination against an individual or a group of individuals on the basis of their perceived or assumed ethnicity is treating that individual or group in a dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate way.

Thus such social problems are often the result, the consequence of, a lack of empathy in a person, with this lack of συμπάθεια with other human beings having often in the past been evident in the treatment of people and individuals by governments, States, and institutions, and often revealed in and through discriminatory, unfair, uncompassionate laws.

A Numinous and Non-Political Approach

Given that the concern of the philosophy of pathei-mathos is the individual and their interior, their spiritual, life, and given that (due to the nature of empathy and pathei-mathos) there is respect for individual judgement, the philosophy of pathei-mathos is apolitical, and thus not concerned with such matters as the theory and practice of governance, nor with changing or reforming society by political means.

For, as mentioned in Some Personal Musings On Empathy,

“[the] acceptance of the empathic – of the human, the personal – scale of things and of our limitations as human beings is part of wu-wei. [3] Of not-striving, and of not-interfering, beyond the purveu of our empathy and our pathei-mathos. Of personally and for ourselves discovering the nature, the physis, of beings; of personally working with and not against that physis, and of personally accepting that certain matters or many matters, because of our lack of personal knowledge and lack of personal experience of them, are unknown to us and therefore it is unwise, unbalanced, for us to have and express views or opinions concerning them, and hubris for us to adhere to and strive to implement some ideology which harshly deals with and manifests harsh views and harsh opinions concerning such personally unknown matters.

Thus what and who are beyond the purveu of empathy and beyond pathei-mathos is or should be of no urgent concern, of no passionate relevance, to the individual seeking balance, harmony, and wisdom, and in truth can be detrimental to finding wisdom and living in accord with the knowledge and understanding so discovered.”

This means that there is no desire and no need to use any confrontational means to directly challenge and confront the authority of existing States since numinous reform and change is personal, individual, non-political, and not organized beyond a limited local level of people personally known. That is, it is of and involves individuals who are personally known to each other working together based on the understanding that it is inner, personal, change – in individuals, of their nature, their character – that is is the ethical, the numinous, way to solve such personal and social problems as exist and arise. That such inner change of necessity comes before any striving for outer change by whatever means, whether such means be termed or classified as political, social, economic, religious. That the only effective, long-lasting, change and reform is understood as the one that evolves human beings and thus changes what, in them, predisposes them, or inclines them toward, doing or what urges them to do, what is dishonourable, undignified, unfair, and uncompassionate.

In practice, this evolution means, in the individual, the cultivation and use of the faculty of empathy, and acquiring the personal virtues of compassion, honour, and love. Which means the inner reformation of individuals, as individuals.

Hence the basis for numinous social change and reform is aiding, helping, assisting individuals in a direct and personal manner, and in practical ways, with such help, assistance, and aid arising because we personally know or are personally concerned about or involved with those individuals or the situations those individuals find themselves in. In brief, being compassionate, empathic, understanding, sensitive, kind, and showing by personal example.

An Experience of The Numinous

The change that the philosophy – the way – of pathei-mathos seeks to foster, to encourage, is the natural, slow, interior and personal change within individuals; that is, the change of personal character by the individual developing and using their faculty of empathy and inclining toward being compassionate and honourable by nature. In essence, this is a numinous – a spiritual – change in people, a change of perspective, quite different from the supra-personal social change based on laws desired by modern States and by those who champion or who employ political, economic, and social theories regarding society, government, and the individual.

This interior personal change, by its numinous and ethical nature, is one that does not seek to reform society through politics or by any type of agitation, or through the use of force, or by means of any type of organization, social, political, economic, religious. Instead, such numinous change is the reform of individuals on a personal, individual, and cultural basis; by personal example and by individuals cultivating, in accordance with wu-wei, conditions and circumstances whereby they themselves and others can move toward συμπάθεια with other human beings through a personal knowing and experience of the numinous. Such a knowing and experience of the numinous can be cultivated by a variety of means, for example by harmonious surroundings; through an appreciation of, and a living in balance with, Nature; by love and respect and manners and a desire for peace; by periods of interior and exterior silence; through culture and thus through music, Art, literature, an understanding of history, and through respect for and tolerance of the many religions and spiritual Ways which have arisen over millennia and which may manifest the numinous or something of the numinous.

David Myatt
2012 ce

Notes

[1] The State is defined as:

The concept of both (1) organizing and controlling – over a particular and large geographical area – land (and resources); and (2) organizing and controlling individuals over that same geographical particular and large geographical area by: (a) the use of physical force or the threat of force and/or by influencing or persuading or manipulating a sufficient number of people to accept some leader/clique/minority/representatives as the legitimate authority; (b) by means of the central administration and centralization of resources (especially fiscal and military); and (c) by the mandatory taxation of personal income.

My personal (fallible) view is that by their nature States often tend to be masculous (hence the desire for wars, invasions, conquest, competition, and the posturing often associated with ‘patriotism’), although in my view they can become balanced, within, by acceptance of certain muliebral qualities, qualities most obviously manifest in certain aspects of culture, in caring professions, in pursuing personal love and the virtue of wu-wei, and in and by the empowerment and equality of, and respect for, women and those whose personal love is for someone of the same gender.

As mentioned elsewhere, I am somewhat idiosyncratic regarding capitalization (and spelling), and capitalize certain words, such as State, and often use terms such as The State to emphasize the philosophical truth of State as entity.

[2] The ethics of the way of pathei-mathos are the ethics of empathy – of συμπάθεια. In practical personal terms, this means dignity, fairness, balance (δίκη), reason, a lack of prejudgement, and the requirement of a personal knowing and of personal experience, of πάθει μάθος.

An ethical person thus reveals, possesses, εὐταξία – the quality, the personal virtue, of self-restraint; of personal orderly (balanced, honourable, well-mannered) conduct, a virtue especially evident under adversity or duress.

Thus, and as mentioned in Enantiodromia and The Reformation of The Individual, the good is considered to be what is fair; what alleviates or does not cause suffering; what is compassionate; what empathy by its revealing inclines us to do, what inclines us to appreciate the numinous and why ὕβρις is an error of unbalance.

Hence the bad – what is wrong, immoral – is what is unfair; what is harsh and unfeeling; what intentionally causes or contributes to suffering, with what is bad often considered to be due to a lack of empathy and of πάθει μάθος in a person, and a consequence of a bad φύσις, of a bad, a rotten, or an undeveloped, unformed, not-mature, individual character/nature. In effect, such a bad person lacks εὐταξία, has little or no appreciation of the numinous, and is often in thrall to their hubriatic and/or their masculous desires.

[3] Wu-wei – a Taoist term – is used here, and elsewhere in the philosophy of The Numinous Way, to refer to a personal ‘letting-be’ deriving from a feeling, a knowing, that an essential part of wisdom is cultivation of an interior personal balance and which cultivation requires acceptance that one must work with, or employ, things according to their nature, for to do otherwise is incorrect, and inclines us toward, or is, being excessive – that is, is ὕβρις. In practice, this is the cultivation of a certain (an acausal, numinous) perspective – that life, things/beings, change, flow, exist, in certain natural ways which we human beings cannot change however hard we might try; that such a hardness of human trying, a belief in such hardness, is unwise, un-natural, upsets the natural balance and can cause misfortune/suffering for us and/or for others, now or in the future. Thus success lies in discovering the inner nature of things/beings/ourselves and gently, naturally, slowly, working with this inner nature, not striving against it.


Myatt: A Non-Terrestrial View

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Editorial Note: The following essay by David Myatt was written in 2015 and in our view well expresses a core part of his weltanschauung – the philosophy of pathei-mathos – regarding our human nature, the importance of empathy, and the potential he believes we humans possess to consciously change and thence evolve as a sentient species.

The essay in included in the work edited by Rachael Stirling titled Such Respectful Wordful Offerings As This: Selected Essays Of David Myatt. The book is available as a gratis open access pdf file {1} and as a printed book {2}.

RDM Crew
April 2018

{1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/wordful-offerings-dwm-print-v3a.pdf

{2} Such Respectful Wordful Offerings As This. 72 pages. CreateSpace. 2017. ISBN 978-1978374355

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A Non-Terrestrial View

Several times, in the last decade or so, I have – when considering certain current events, and social change, and the activities, policies, and speeches, of certain politicians – often asked myself a particular question: What impression or what conclusions would a non-terran (a hypothetical visiting alien from another star-system) have of or draw from those events, such social change, and those politicians? And what, therefore, would be the conclusions that such a non-terran would make regarding our nature, our human character, as a species?

Which answers seemed to me to depend on what criteria – ethical, experiential, ontological, and otherwise – such a non-terran might employ. Would, for instance, the home-world of such a non-terran be a place of relative peace and prosperity which, having endured millennia of conflict and war, had evolved beyond conflict and war and had also ended poverty? Would, for instance, such a non-terran view matters dispassionately, having evolved such that they are always able to control – or have developed beyond – such strong personal emotions as now, as for all of our human history, so often still seem to overwhelm we humans leading us and having led us to be selfish, to lie, to cheat, to manipulate, to use violence – and sometimes kill – in order to fulfil a personal desire?

The criteria I now (post-2011) apply to this hypothetical scenario are those derived from my own experience, and from reflecting over several years upon that experience, which criteria are of course subjective, personal, and it is thus no coincidence that they now are reflected in my philosophy of pathei-mathos. Thus the ethics I assume such an interstellar space-faring sentient non-terran might adhere to are based on honour and the apprehension of suffering and hubris that empathy provides; just as the ontology derives from a numinous awareness of how causal and fallible and transient every sentient life is in respect of the vastness of the cosmos (spatially and in terms of aeons of causal time), with such ethics and ontology a natural consequence of such a culture whose genesis is that pathei-mathos – ancestral, individual, societal – that derives from millennia of suffering, conflict, war, poverty, and oppression.

Furthermore, my reflexion on the past fifty years of human space exploration leads me to further conclude that we as a species – and perhaps every sentient species – can only venture forth, en masse, to explore and colonize new worlds when certain social and political conditions exist: when we, when perhaps every sentient species, have matured sufficiently to be able to, as individuals, control ourselves (without any internal or external coercion deriving from laws or from some belief be such belief ideological, political, or religious) and thus when we use reason and empathy as our raison d’etre and not our emotions, our desires, our egoism or some -ism or some -ology or some faith that we accept or believe in or need. For despite the technology making such space exploration and colonization now feasible for us (if only currently within our solar system) we lack the political will, the social desire, the trans-national cooperation, the vision, to realize it even given that our own habitable planet is slowly undergoing a transformation for the worse wrought by ourselves. All we have – decades after the landings on the Moon – are a few individuals inhabiting and only for a while just one Earth-orbiting space station and a few small-scale, theorized, human landings on Mars a decade or more in the future. For instead of such a vision of a new frontier which frontier a multitude of families can settle and which can be the genesis of new cultures and new human societies, all we have had in the past fifty years is more of the same: regional wars and armed conflicts; invasions, violent coups and revolutions; violent protests, the killing and imprisonment and torture of protestors and dissenters; political propaganda for this political cause or that; exploitation of resources and of other humans; terrorism, murder, rape, theft, and greed.

              How then would my hypothetical space-faring alien judge us as a species, and how would such a non-terran view such squabbles – political, social, ideological, religious, and be they violent or non-violent – and such poverty, inequality, corruption, and oppression, as still seem to so bedevil almost all societies currently existing on planet Earth?

In addition, how would we as individuals – and how would our governments – interact with, and treat, such an alien were such an alien, visiting Earth incognito, to be discovered? Would we treat such an alien with respect, with honour: as a non-threatening ambassador from another world? Would any current government on Earth willingly and openly and world-wide acknowledge the existence of such extra-terrestrial life and allow Earth ambassadors from any country, and scientists, and the media, full and open access to such an alien sentient being? I have my own personal intuition regarding answers to such questions.

But, remaining undiscovered, what would our visiting alien observer report regarding Earth and ourselves on their return to their own planet? Again, I have my own personal intuition regarding answers to such questions. Which answers could well be that we are an aggressive, still rather primitive and very violent, species best avoided until such time as we might outwardly demonstrate – through perhaps having numerous peaceful, cooperating, colonies on other worlds – that we have culturally and personally, in moral terms, advanced.

Which rather – to me at least – places certain current events, social change by -isms, by -ologies through disruption and violence and via revolution, and the activities, policies, and speeches, of certain politicians, and armed conflicts, into what I intuit is a necessary cosmic, non-terran, perspective. Which perspective is of us as a species still evolving; as having the potential and now the means to further and to consciously, and as individuals, to so evolve.

Will we do this? And how? Again, my answer – fallible as it is, repeated by me as it hereby is, and born as it is from my own pathei-mathos – is that it could well begin with us as individuals consciously deciding to change through cultivating empathy and viewing ourselves and our world in the perspective of the cosmos. Which perspective is of our smallness, our fallibility, our mortality, and of our appreciation of the numinous and thus of the need to avoid the error of hubris; an error which we mortals, millennia following millennia, have always made and which even now – even with our ancestral world-wide culture of pathei-mathos – we still commit day after day, year after year, and century after century, enshrined as such hubris seems to be in so many politicians; in -isms and -ologies; in disruptive and violent social change and revolutions; in armed conflicts, and in our very physis as human individuals: an apparently unchanged physis which so motivates so many of us to still be egoistic, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to murder, to manipulate, to be violent, and to often be motived by avarice, pride, jealousy, and a selfish sexual desire.

As someone, over one and half-thousand years ago, wrote regarding human beings:

τοῖς δὲ ἀνοήτοις καὶ κακοῖς καὶ πονηροῖς καὶ φθονεροῖς καὶ πλεονέκταις καὶ φονεῦσι καὶ ἀσεβέσι πόρρωθέν εἰμι͵ τῷ τιμωρῷ ἐκχωρήσας δαίμονι͵ ὅστις τὴν ὀξύτητα τοῦ πυρὸς προσβάλλων θρώσκει αὐτὸν αἰσθητικῶς καὶ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τὰς ἀνομίας αὐτὸν ὁπλίζει͵ ἵνα τύχῃ πλείονος τιμωρίας͵ καὶ οὐ παύεται ἐπ΄ ὀρέξεις ἀπλέ τους τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων͵ ἀκορέστως σκοτομαχῶν͵ καὶ τοῦ τον βασανίζει͵ καὶ ἐπ΄ αὐτὸν πῦρ ἐπὶ τὸ πλεῖον αὐξάνει

“I keep myself distant from the unreasonable, the rotten, the malicious, the jealous, the greedy, the bloodthirsty, the hubriatic, instead, giving them up to the avenging daemon, who assigns to them the sharpness of fire, who visibly assails them, and who equips them for more lawlessness so that they happen upon even more vengeance. For they cannot control their excessive yearnings, are always in the darkness – which tests them – and thus increase that fire even more.” [1]

Which is basically the same understanding that Aeschylus revealed in his Oresteia trilogy many centuries before: the wisdom of pathei-mathos and the numinous pagan allegory of Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες [2], and which wisdom was also described by Milton over a millennia later by means of another allegory:

The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile,
Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind.

David Myatt
2015

[1] Poemandres, 23. Corpus Hermeticum. Translated by David Myatt in Poemandres, A Translation and Commentary. 2014.

Editorial Note: Myatt’s translation and commentary of the Pymander part of the Corpus Hermeticum is, as of 2018, included in his book Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. 190 pages. CreateSpace. 2017. ISBN 978-1976452369

[2] Aeschylus (attributed), Prometheus Bound, 515-6

τίς οὖν ἀνάγκης ἐστὶν οἰακοστρόφος.
Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες

Who then compels to steer us?
Trimorphed Moirai with their ever-heedful Furies


Anachronistic Copyright

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In an interesting but perhaps not unexpected development {1} David Myatt has made several of his works – the most popular ones, according to our research – available under a ‘creative commons’ license which allows for royalty-free commercial publication by others.

The works so licensed are:

° Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos
° Tu Es Diaboli Ianua
° Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates
° The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos
° The Gospel According To John: A Translation And Commentary
° The Agamemnon of Aeschylus
° Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos

A not so unexpected development because, according to Myatt himself, he considers “the abstractions denoted by the terms ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright’ to be anachronistic.” {2}

Rumour has it that he plans to make other works of his available under the same commercial license. Coincidently – perhaps? – this would bring his works into almost the same category as O9A works all of which are distributed and classified as being “in the public domain”.

RDM Crew
March 2018 ev

{1} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/david-myatt-opera-omnia/

{2} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/the-numinous-way-of-pathei-mathos/


Reading Myngath

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Reading Myngath
The Apologia of David Myatt

If the reader of Myngath expects a conventional autobiography then they will be either disappointed or consider the work somewhat bizarre.

Many – perhaps most – autobiographies appear to be consciously crafted in order to project, through the medium of words, a particular image of the author and an image which appears to be consistent because past events in the life of the author are often made to appear as if they were the genesis of, or support, what the authors want the reader to believe about who they are and why they have done what they have and/or now have the beliefs or the opinions that they do.

The lives, however, of most notable individuals are not so simple as many of them would like us – via such self-penned deliberate, cause-and-effect, narratives – to believe.

In the case of Myatt what we get is – as the sub-title of Myngath and the introductory brief Apologia inform us – “some recollections of a wyrdful and extremist life” which were a “concise aural recollection to a friend, recorded and then transcribed” and which conciseness was because, according to Myatt “it is the essence of this particular life, recalled, that in my fallible view is or rather may be instructive, and I have tried to present this essence in a truthful way and thus be honest about my failings, my mistakes, my past activities, and my feelings at the time.”

The important phrases here are “aural recollection”, “some recollections”, and “honest about my feelings at the time.” For Myngath is a brief explanation, hastily given to someone (and probably edited by Myatt before publication), of how Myatt himself felt at certain times of his life, how he believes he finally came to reject the extremism that dominated his adult life and develop his philosophy of pathei-mathos.

Which explanation is also an apology for both his extremist deeds and the selfishness so evident in his recollections of his private life. Which may explain why he chose a brief Apologia in preference to a lengthy Introduction; why he inserts some of his poems into the text, and why he added three appendices; with the poems for example expressing his feelings in a way that a wordy explanation might not.

What all this amounts to is that Myngath is not an ordinary autobiography but rather a series of impressions of Myatt at various times in his life. The enthusiastic unconventional schoolboy; a rather naive teenager getting involved in right-wing politics; the violent fanatic setting up a criminal gang to fund a political cause; the rather amoral convict running rackets from his prison cell; the selfish lover; the romantic dreamer and poet; the rather boyish somewhat mischievous Catholic monk; and the extremist turned humanist philosopher for whom “a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all.”

The impression that emerges was succinctly expressed a few years ago by an academic: an impression of an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual.” {1}

Understood as a series of impressions of the life of an individual with rather interesting and diverse experiences – from childhood on – Myngath is a worthwhile read, if only because it places the opinions of so many others about Myatt, from anti-fascists to journalists to various academics, into perspective as being very simplistic. For such a complex man with such a diversity of experiences cannot be so easily pigeon-holed and as two-dimensional as they have made him and make him out to be.

Myngath was, for me, also somewhat annoying, in that beneficial way that annoyance can sometimes be, since it intrigued me sufficiently to read more of David Myatt’s later (post-2011) writings and left me wanting to find a well-researched, objective, and detailed biography of him. The writings were easy to find, but such a biography has yet to be written.

J.B.
July 2016
(Revised 2017)

Myngath is available
(i) as a pdf document from Myatt’s weblog: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/myngath-2/
and (ii) as a printed book published in 2013, ISBN 978-1484110744

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{1} Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014.


A Note On The Muliebral Numinous

David Myatt

David Myatt

The following Note compliments a previous Note of ours – titled A Note Regarding The Term Numinous – in which previous Note we provided the necessary historical and metaphysical context for understanding that term, and which context reveals, contrary to a popular misunderstanding, that term ‘numinous’ – implying “of or relating to a god or a divinity, revealing or indicating the presence of a divinity; divine, spiritual” – was used in English centuries before Rudolf Otto appropriated it to describe mysterium tremendum et fascinans and thus restricted it to religions and to religions experience, which restrictive religious use is quite different from Myatt’s metaphysical usage:

“The numinous is what manifests or can manifest or remind us of (what can reveal) the natural balance of ψυχή; a balance which ὕβρις upsets. This natural balance – our being as human beings – is or can be manifest to us in or by what is harmonious, or what reminds us of what is harmonious and beautiful.”

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A Note On The Muliebral Numinous

In the Numinous Metaphysics chapter of his 2017 book Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, David Myatt iconoclastically wrote that in his view “the numinous is primarily a manifestation of the muliebral and can be apprehended through a personal, an interior, balance between masculous and muliebral.” {1}

He then asks the important and relevant question as how can the “numinous balance between masculous and muliebral be metaphysically expressed, given that the culture of pathei-mathos has moved us, or can move us, beyond anthropomorphic deities, whether male or female; beyond myths and legends; beyond reliance on texts regarded as sacred and/or as divinely inspired; and even beyond the need for denotatum and religion.”

If one accepts Myatt’s understanding of the numinous as “primarily a manifestation of the muliebral” then it follows that all extant representations of the numinous, from Christianity, to Islam, to Judaism, to Buddhism, to most contemporary pagan revivals, as well as ancient Greco-Roman paganism, do not or did not adequately presence the numinous.

For such a muliebral presencing would, according to Myatt, be manifest in “a predominance of female deities; or in a dominant female deity; in legends and myths which celebrate muliebral virtues, such as empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, compassion.”

Hence a modern and metaphysical presencing of numinous would be “beyond the need for denotatum,” {2} whether the denotatum be a named anthropomorphic divinity or named divinities, or whether such denotatum involves texts, since it is manifest “in a personal weltanschauung and not in a religion; has no hierarchy; no creed, no article or articles of faith; and no texts whether written or aural.”

Thus the numinous is not and cannot be – as Rudolf Otto argued in his Das Heilige – manifest in the Old and New Testaments of Christianity (chapters X, XI); nor is it manifest in the writings and sermons of preachers such as Martin Luther (chapters XII); nor in anything – ancient or modern – which involves ‘worship’ (chapter XIII ff). Nor even in some philosophical theory and thence described by a term such as a priori (chapter XVII).

Which would seem to lead us back to Myatt’s understanding of empathy as a human faculty which cannot exist beyond the personal horizon of the individual, with the knowing gleaned by such a faculty limited to the immediacy-of-the-moment {3}. As a human faculty, it does not involve denotatum, and is personal and individual {4}. For empathy “reveals or can reveal the nature (the physis) – sans abstractions/ideations/words – of Being, of beings, and of Time.” {5}

This empathic revealing – involving as it does a συμπάθεια (sympatheia) with ‘the living other’ – naturally inclines a person toward muliebral virtues such as compassion {6}. Thus,

“morality resides not in some abstract theory or some moralistic schemata presented in some written text which individuals have to accept and try and conform or aspire to, but rather in personal virtues that arise or which can arise naturally through empathy, πάθει μάθος, and thus from an awareness and appreciation of the numinous. Personal virtues such as compassion and fairness, and εὐταξία, that quality of self-restraint, of a balanced, well-mannered conduct.” {7}

In effect, empathy presences – provides an apprehension of – the numinous, revealing the natural balance of ψυχή, and what upsets or can upset that balance within us as individuals. This leads him to suggest that

“the basis for numinous social change and reform is aiding, helping, assisting individuals in a direct and personal manner, and in practical ways, with such help, assistance, and aid arising because we personally know or are personally concerned about or involved with those individuals or the situations those individuals find themselves in. In brief, being compassionate, empathic, understanding, sensitive, kind, and showing by personal example.” {7}

However, in his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, he expands upon this by writing that the personal, the interior, balance between masculous and muliebral involves

“a new civitas, and one not based on some abstractive law but on a spiritual and interior (and thus not political) understanding and appreciation of our own Ancestral Culture and that of others; on our ‘civic’ duty to personally presence καλὸς κἀγαθός and thus to act and to live in a noble way. For the virtues of personal honour and manners, with their responsibilities, presence the fairness, the avoidance of hubris, the natural harmonious balance, the gender equality, the awareness and appreciation of the divine, that is the numinous.”

Conclusion

For many people, all this will seem hopelessly idealistic, or impractical. Others will dismiss it as irrelevant because of how they perceive our ‘human nature’, believing that “what a piece of work is Man,” no more, no less than a talking beast who happens to walk upright.

But a few might perceive it as the musings of a modern mystic, or as the musing of someone “Above Time”, for such musings are only, as Myatt himself admits, the fallible result of his own pathei-mathos (8}.

Three Wyrd Sisters
2018

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{1} Since Myatt goes to explain what he means by both masculous and muliebral it is worth quoting the passage from Tu Es Diaboli Ianua in context:

“If the numinous is a presencing, and an apprehension by us, of the divine, of the sacred, then is divinity, is the sacred, the sole domain of, a presencing of, the masculous – or such that the masculous dominates – or is it the domain of the muliebral; or the domain of such a balance between masculous and muliebral as the culture of pathei-mathos seems to indicate it is and should be. My own pathei-mathos certainly indicates that the numinous is primarily a manifestation of the muliebral and can be apprehended through a personal, an interior, balance between masculous and muliebral.

A masculous presencing is and has been manifest in a predominance of male deities; or in a dominant male deity; and/or in legends and myths which celebrate masculous values, such as competitiveness, a certain harshness, a desire to organize/control, a perceived conflict between some-thing, some abstraction, denoted ‘good’ and some-thing, some abstraction, denoted as ‘evil’, and a following of or an adherence to abstractions in general (such as a perceived divine law or some interpretation of religiosity) over and above personal love. Considered exoterically – not interiorly, not esoterically – a masculous presencing is manifest in a religion, with the attendant organized worship and devotion, with there existing a hierarchy, a creed or an article or articles of faith, and usually some texts, whether written or aural, regarded as sacred and/or as divinely inspired and which invariably require interpretation.

A muliebral presencing is or would be manifest in a predominance of female deities; or in a dominant female deity; in legends and myths which celebrate muliebral virtues, such as empathy, sensitivity, gentleness, compassion; and in the perception that personal love should triumph over and above adherence to abstractions. Considered exoterically – not interiorly, not esoterically – a muliebral presencing is manifest in a personal, varied, worship and devotion; in a personal weltanschauung and not in a religion; has no hierarchy; no creed, no article or articles of faith; and no texts whether written or aural.

Historically, it seems that revealed religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism primarily manifest a presencing of the masculous […]

Historically, while the paganus apprehension of Greco-Roman culture was also primarily masculous it did presence aspects of the muliebral, manifest for example in female deities such as Athena, Artemis, and Gaia, and thus was somewhat more balanced, more harmonious in terms of re-presenting our human physis, than Christianity.”

{2} In a footnote in Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, Myatt explains that he uses “the term denotatum – from the Latin, denotare – in accord with its general meaning which is to denote or to describe by an expression or a word; to name some-thing; to refer that which is so named or so denoted. Thus understood, and used as an Anglicized term, denotatum is applicable to both singular and plural instances and thus obviates the need to employ the Latin plural denotata.”

{3} The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. Part I. Wisdom, Pathei-Mathos, and Humility.

{4} Op.cit. Part III. Some Personal Musings On Empathy.

{5} Op.cit. Appendix II.

{6} Op.cit. Part I. An Appreciation of The Numinous.

{7} Op.cit. Part V. Modern Society and The Individual.

{8} Op. cit. Preface.